Russian journalist: Don’t believe the propaganda on either side

I’ve avoided writing much about the Ukrainian violence and the rising tension between Russia and the U.S. over each other’s involvement. It’s not because I’m too ignorant or uneducated about the region, which might be the case.

I’ve just read many history books to know in such circumstances no side is worth taking and all share the blame. It would be like assigning blame to one government for World War I. All of them wanted war.

When you write about an issue, you’re expected to take sides. It’s a natural logical fallacy; if you think A is wrong, B must be right, or at least morally superior to A.

I refuse to accept this premise. There is more than two sides involved in this feud, more than two interests at hand. Geopolitical struggles are too complicated to be adequately summarized in 500 words. They are also difficult to understand while they’re happening. It takes a long time after the dust settles to give it context.

The other matter is figuring out fact from fiction. You cannot believe what any government tells you, or news sources from their respective countries. As a reporter, believe me when I say that the most important parts of a story get left out. All we the public sees is the tip of the iceberg.

It is during the prelude to war that lies are planted like seeds so they may blossom into justifications for the atrocities that inevitably take place.

On Facebook I came across this post by a Russian journalist, courtesy of the Libertarian Republic, that demonstrates my point. The U.S. shouldn’t be involved, but that doesn’t make ex-KGB man Putin a great liberator of mankind, either.

Recently I’ve had a fierce discussion with Western libertarians about Ukraine. I’ve already submit to the fact that Russian propaganda bears its fruits inside Russia, but I was unpleasantly shocked to find how much it is spoiling the minds of people abroad. People who are supposed to be our allies seriously talk about State Department spreading cookies on Maidan and compare terrorists of Donetsk with The Founding Fathers of the United States. The following is my view of the situation, but I am sure it is not fair to discuss the Ukrainian affairs without Ukrainians. I invite them to join the discussion and to prove they’ve never got cookies from McCain or Nuland for fighting with Yanukovich troops in Kiev last winter.

I don’t know who convinced Western people that State Department played the leading role in the Ukrainian revolution. Maybe Russia Today, a network whose mission is to spread hatred and hostility spending our tax money. We all understand that a state-owned media is not a reliable source of information, though Western libertarians believe Russia Today because the channel is criticizing Obama. But enemy of my enemy is not always my friend. We in Russia don’t fall into a trap like this and don’t pray NATO to come and save us from Putin.

Luckily, I don’t have to choose between Russian and American propaganda to find out who started the revolution in Ukraine cause I’m a reporter myself and I eye-witnessed the Maidan protests. I talked to entrepreneurs who bought medicines, food and clothes for protesters. I’ve spent a night in a revolutionary camp with volunteering students. My cousin is studying in Kiev and she was strongly in favor of Maidan though she’s never been interested in politics before.

As half of my family lives in Eastern Ukraine, I can say for sure that people of that regions never thought about “self-determination” until people like Igor Girkin and Alexander Borodai, both native Muscovites, came to Donetsk with Russian weapons and declared themselves the saviors of “Novorossiya” (a term promoted by Russian MPs, Russian Acadamy of Science and Russian state-owned media to legitimize the military intervention to Donetsk and Lugansk).

Remember the rule “practice what you preach”? Russian government is promoting values abroad that are illegal in Russia, like the right to self-determination. The will of the people to secede is indisputable, unless it is expressed at gun points. The Crimean referendum was forced from the outside by the country in which there have been no referendums for the last 20 years. Expressing “separatist views” is strictly forbidden in Russia according to a new bill and may cost you 7 years in prison. After the Crimean referendum a group of people in Kaliningrad held a rally demanding to split from Russia and join Germany (as historically it was a German territory). They are all under trial now.

I assume you think we hate Putin so much because we are mislead by the Western media. No, we hate him just because we live in Russia. And if the russophobia is spread by mass media channels and Western newspapers, I highly recommend you not to fall under its influence because Russian government and Russian people are not the same thing. I myself have been arrested seven times for anti-Putin protests, and there are millions of people in Russia who don’t support Putin’s policy.

We have the same problem here: Russian people confuse Obama’s administration and American people. Every political activist in Russia is officially treated as an American spy, especially if he or she often travels to America, like me. I usually say to my suspicious co-patriots that my American friends are only people who criticize Obama even more than Russian TV does. And it helps sometimes.

Read the whole post here.

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10 Responses to Russian journalist: Don’t believe the propaganda on either side

  1. SwittersB says:

    Fortunately, the Holodomor could probably never occur in our lifetimes could it? Could it?


    • The Question says:

      Fortunately that is unlikely. We have alternative media and the Internet to bring to light these things, whereas the 1930’s forced people to rely on New York Times’ reporters like Walter Duranty who covered up the Holodomor and won a Pulizter for it. Though this doesn’t rule out a low-conflict proxy war, which is what a lot of people are afraid will happen.


  2. D says:

    Thank you! Breath of fresh air bud. I have been completely turned off by lew rockwell, ron paul and their ilk constantly babbling on about the CIA, maidan and how great and wonderful russia is. And this is just the latest conspiracy theory they have been spewing out. There is always some new and crazy theory out there and honestly they are starting to make us look like kooks, its embarrassing and hurts recruitment. I know im probably not supposed to talk bad about the chairman of the mises institute or the great ron paul but i think its time for a new generation of anarcho capitalists.


    • The Question says:

      Right, though I’m sure the U.S. is meddling in this whole affair like they do everything else around the world. I just don’t think this justifies the actions of Putin or the Russian government. They’re all troublemakers looking out for their own interests, just like governments do.


      • D says:

        I have extensive Special Operations experience (you would be surprised how many of us are out there), and trust me, the US had nothing to to with the Maidan protests. Part of the reason we hate government is because its so inept, right? Well if thats the case how do we pull off all of these masterful tom clancyesque coups? People cant keep secrets, especially government employees. They couldnt even keep the Bin Laden raid a secret! How many of the operators wrote books after that, two I think? We need to stop treating governments as if they have one voice, one direction. Governments are a thousand people, all with their own interests, going in a thousand directions. Our foreign policy is not thought out well enough to pull off something like a Ukrainian revolution. Putin out thinks us at every turn, he is still evil, but he is much more competent than our ‘leadership’.


      • The Question says:

        That’s good to know. Like I said I know very little about this whole affair so I’m always interested in hearing what others have to say on it. My point wasn’t that the U.S. government staged the protests, but their involvement right now at the moment is not to protect the freedom and independence of the Ukrainian people caught up in the turmoil. And I agree on government; it is not a single person, or a competent one.


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  3. peteybee says:

    “Geopolitical struggles are too complicated to be adequately summarized in 500 words. They are also difficult to understand while they’re happening. It takes a long time after the dust settles to give it context.”

    Then do it in 1000 words. Or 10,000, or 100,000. If you stand by and do nothing, with the excuse that it’s too complicated or too uncertain, then you are voluntarily letting the decision be made by your inferiors, who will simply act based on whatever they hear on TV/internet, whichever country they are in.


    • The Question says:

      I did. I posted this article quoting the Facebook status of a Russian reporter not in Putin’s pocket who has actually covered what’s happening in Ukraine and Russia. She described it more accurately than I could thousands of miles away. I have not written about it much previously because I don’t trust any “official” news sources enough to tell me what’s actually happening on the ground so I can write an informed opinion. I made that mistake during the Benghazi fiasco and don’t intend to make it again. I’d much rather wait.


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